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Langerholc bill seeks expanded broadband access

The state Senate has unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Wayne Langerholc Jr., R-Cambria, that would establish a grant program to extend deployment of broadband services in underserved areas of the state.

Langerholc said that access to broadband has become even more crucial during the COVID-19 health crisis, connecting residents with services and information. Specifically, we have heard from parents of students who are taking classes remotely, school officials, farmers, individuals tele-working, senior citizens and fire and emergency workers.

Senate Bill 835 will provide funding to improve access to high-speed broadband internet in rural areas of Pennsylvania, which currently do not have access to reliable networks. It would limit funding to entities that have demonstrated the ability to construct and administer internet services and require that they provide 20 percent of the funding for the project.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into view what we in rural Pennsylvania have known for some time — broadband is essential to connectivity, education, safety and productivity,” Langerholc said. “The time is now to ensure all state residents are afforded the same opportunities.”

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